The Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) was the first school in the PG&E Solar Schools Program – the school was selected for their aptitude in science and math, and their mission of collaborating with businesses and community agencies to educate students in a cross curricular, project-based environment that is academically rigorous, and facilitated through a business based instructional model. Their solar installation was celebrated on April 1st 2005 – no fooling!
Since April of 2005, the students and faculty of CART have done some amazing things. Recently, they announced the establishment of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company Environmental Research and Technology Lab.
Students in the Pacific Gas and Electric Company Environmental Lab at CART are creating a photovoltaic lighting system for the labâ€™s storage shed. Since the students have never done a project like this before, they had to start from scratch and work their way up the ladder. Through using internet and book resources and speaking with a PG& E employee, Mr. Joe Estrada, they learned how to set up a photovoltaic system. Not only do they know the difference between AC and DC currents, but they have become familiar with wiring, light fixtures, and the extensive vocabulary.
Ally Simmons shows one on the PV Panels that will be used for the project
If youâ€™re not familiar with solar energy it is basically energy that is gathered from the sun. The solar panels absorb the solar energy radiated from the sun and in turn create electricity. This energy can supply the same amount of electricity that fossil fuels produce, but instead it is a clean and renewable energy resource, which makes it more environmentally friendly.
The goal for this project is not only to create a lighting system for CARTâ€™s storage shed but to demonstrate alternative energy sources and help reduce the nationâ€™s dependence on fossil fuels. When asked why she is involved, Ally Simmons stated, â€œPeople in the world need to start caring about what happens to our earth. Our future and our kidâ€™s future depend on it. I am proud to be apart of something that could make a difference even if itâ€™s small.â€